« AnteriorContinuar »
was Richard Collinson, a pious young man, who was going also for orders. The other two were a gentleman and his lady, by the name of Lewis. All three were born in England, and I was the only American on board. We had a short and agreeable passage enough, till we got to the coast of Ireland. The first land we made, as well as I remember, was Fair Foreland, a place rendered famous in history, by the massacre of one hundred thousand Protestants, in the reign of King Charles the first, The sight of that place, with the recollection of that massacre, made such a deep and awful impression on my heart, as is not easily described.
Ít being a time of war, as we drew near the coast, we were in the more danger of being assailed by privateers and other arm. ed vessels of the enemy, (the French) ?Twas early in the morning, when we got within land, and we kept sight of Ireland, till we came near the bay of Carrickfergus. We now spied a vessel lying to windward, and, by her appearance, she was judged, by the captain, and old seamen, to be an enemy. Our ship was armed for defence with fourteen carriage guns, swivels, muskets, and other weapons for close quarters. All hands were called to arms, and to be in readiness for a salute. I was placed at a nine pounder in the cabin, at which also, Mr. Collinson was directed to assist. But it was easy to discover that no assistance was to be expected from him. He looked pale as a ghost, trembled, and declared he could not fight even to save his own life. In good truth, I wished the thief-looking vessel much farther off-however, I kept a good countenance, and, to do honor to America, declared that a Virginian had steel to the back, and would never Ainch. After a while, the suspected vessel sheered off, and, I saved my credit, and blood both.
We went on quietly after this alarm, till we got within, perhaps, less than a days sail of Liverpool, the place to which the ship was bound. We had but a light breeze all day-but about midnight the wind rose, and blew a storm. This was the more dangerous, as we were now so far within land. I was asleep in my cot, when the captain and first mate came into the cabin, about. one o'clock at night. Their coming awaked me. They lighted up the candle, and, with much apparent anxiety, examined their books of charts and soundings.—The ship was laid to, as well as could be done, till the morning;
bo we Writhin,
and I went to sleep again very quietly. In the morning, by the break of day, the captain stepped into the cabin, with his usual alacrity, and pleasantly told us, we had a pilot aboard. The wind still blew with unabated rage. It was agreed by all, that it was impossible to make Liverpool with that wind. The best that could be done for the safety of the ship, was, to steer for the town of Beaumaris, and come to an anchor in that harbor. This lies on an arm of the sea, in the isle of Anglesea, in North Wales, over against the high mountain of Penmanmaur, and still farther from Liverpool, than the great Orms head, off which we were sailing, when the storm began. The ship was got under weigh. But within sight of the town we had an island to pass, and it was with the utmost difficulty we escaped being dashed to pieces upon it. When we approached the island, the cap. tain seemed almost distracted with fear, lest the ship could not be prevented from running foul of it the wind and tide setting directly upon it. He stampt as hard and as fast as he could, on the deck, cry. ing out to the man at the helm, “ Luff, luff, Thomas, luff.” The man thought it impossible for the vessel to be brought any closer to the wind, the sheets already shak
ing,--the captain, therefore, drove him from the helm, and took the business upon
himself. We just escaped that rocky . island, and that was all. However, the
ship ran so near it, that her keel struck three times against the rocks under water, and with such violence, that some men at the town, which is about three miles off, plainly perceived the shocks, and expected, from the bending of the masts, that they all would go overboard. But to the kind hand of Heaven I ascribe it, that we all escaped the stormy wind and dangerous sea. : Having got clear of the island, the pilot, either through ignorance, or not have ing recovered his right mind from the ·late alarm, ran the ship out of the channel, and set her fast on a sand bank, when the tide had just began to ebb. This was about nine or ten o'clock in the morning. The captain knew that nothing could be done
towards heaving her off, till the flood made ? again, which would not be in less than six
hours,—he ordered the yawlto be let down, in which he and all the passengers went on shore and into the town, to regale ourselves on some fresh provisions. As I had eat nothing, for several days, but salt beef, ranced butter, black biscuit, &c. while on board, the meat, butter, and every thing I ate, at Beaumaris, exceeded any thing I ever had tasted in all my life. Having refreshed ourselves, in the most delicious and agreeable manner, we took a view of the town, and the remains of an old castle standing just without the town, which had been erected as a place of security and defence, by one of the first kings of England. Every thing appeared so delightful, and the inhabitants looked so fresh and ruddy, that I thought no people in the world could live better than the Welsh. The high mountain of Penmanmaur, lying over against the town, with the top in the clouds, and all the visible parts covered with snow, exhibited the most grand and majestic appearance, I had ever seen. I was so glad to set my foot on land, that I was loth to return again to the ship : but, on enquiry, I found I could not conveniently travel from that place to London, by land ;-we laded ourselves with some of the good things the land afforded, and, in the afternoon returned to the vessel. Soon after the flood came in, and, at the highest water, every effort, then thought of, was used to bring the ship into the channel, but to no effect. In the mean while, either as the tide was coming in or going out,